The Science of Change: A Formula to Build the Case for Workplace Giving

How elephants can help evolve your program
Sep 14, 2016 4:30 PM ET

By Nicole Campbell, Principal of Goodness Consulting at Benevity

When your company has bold plans to evolve its workplace giving program, it’s easy to get excited about making a bigger and more authentic impact on your people, your business and your community. You might have a clear vision for how to take your program to the next level — big ideas for embedding an authentic culture of Goodness into your people’s day-to-day work experience, and a desire to fundamentally refocus giving and volunteering as key drivers of employee recruitment, retention and engagement. Who wouldn’t want to get behind an evolution like that?

As with any decision that impacts the company, even when it’s a positive impact, the vision needs to be communicated effectively. This will make it easy for the stakeholders who influence the process to get excited, too. A strong business case gives them a compelling reason go beyond the status quo; to change “the way we’ve always done it” to make meaningful progress.

Behavioral science tells us that presenting any decision maker with a logical plan for what you want to accomplish is crucial, but it’s not enough. It creates understanding, but doesn’t necessarily offer motivation. Likewise, giving an emotional reason for why your program should evolve is crucial, but again, not enough. It instills passion but doesn’t provide direction.

You want to appeal to both logic and emotion when presenting your business case. This balance is best described by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt in his book The Happiness Hypothesis, where he introduces the metaphor of the elephant and the rider.

See how elephants can help you get buy-in